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At Home and Abroad: How a Calgary Community Organization gives back

Maziyar Dowlatabadi stands in a bottle-filled truck from his group’s fundraiser in Calgary on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. OMAR SHERIF / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

A grassroots organization in Calgary helps support local and international communities through non-traditional forms of fundraising.

YYC Aid was founded in April by Maziyar Dowlatabadi and has organized actions to raise awareness and resources for people in need.

Realizing the need to help others, Dowlatabadi wondered what he and the people in the community could do to make a positive impact.

“We wanted to go beyond donating money,” he said. “Something that anyone can participate in.”

Dowlatabadi and his group organized a bottle ride across Calgary on Tuesday, June 30th. They raised funds for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The fundraiser had several volunteer drivers driving through the Calgary neighborhoods to pick up bottles and drop them off at Confederation Park.

Because of his roots and family in the area, Dowlatabadi knows the importance of helping an area he believes is sometimes overlooked.

Tuesday’s bottle drive fundraiser was supported by local organizations such as the Calgary Drop in Center and the Foothills WFC 15 youth soccer team.

Dowlatabadi says the money raised through the bottle drive is expected to exceed $ 2,000.

Maziyar Dowlatabadi loads a truck with sacks of bottles collected by his group’s fundraiser on Tuesday June 30, 2020. OMAR SHERIF / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Local and global support

Nancy McNair, a Calgary resident who lived in Yemen, believes the country is not getting enough attention around the world.

MORE ABOUT THE CRISIS IN YEMEN FROM THE BBC

“The intelligence wires are not getting the story of Yemen out enough,” she said.

“They’ve been through so much arguments that they really need the help.”

Tuesday’s event focused on helping the international community, but YYC Aid was also involved in providing local support.

In April, the organization wrote personalized, handwritten letters to the homeless in Calgary. Dowlatabadi said it was an authentic way of showing that we care.

“We wanted to support them, tell them that we are there for them,” he said.

McNair praised the Calgarians for their willingness to help their city while keeping an eye out for others in need.

“That’s what is great about Calgarians,” she said.

“They support their own, but they also give a lot globally.”

Dowlatabadi has future fundraising ideas for his group, including creating and selling goods for a purpose.

He would like to continue to raise funds for other global communities in need. Even so, Dowlatabadi realizes the need to help out at home. He wants to help those who suffered damage to their property during the hailstorm in early June.

You can find the YYC Aid group and follow its future initiatives on Instagram at @ yyc.aid.

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